Biosynthesis of a fluorescent cyanobacterial C-phycocyanin holo-alpha subunit in a heterologous host.
ABSTRACT: The entire pathway for the synthesis of a fluorescent holophycobiliprotein subunit from a photosynthetic cyanobacterium (Synechocystis sp. PCC6803) was reconstituted in Escherichia coli. Cyanobacterial genes encoding enzymes required for the conversion of heme to the natural chromophore 3Z-phycocyanobilin, namely, heme oxygenase 1 and 3Z-phycocyanobilin:ferredoxin oxidoreductase, were expressed from a plasmid under control of the hybrid trp-lac (trc) promoter. Genes for the apoprotein (C-phycocyanin alpha subunit; cpcA) and the heterodimeric lyase (cpcE and cpcF) that catalyzes chromophore attachment were expressed from the trc promoter on a second plasmid. Upon induction, recombinant E. coli used the cellular pool of heme to produce holo-CpcA with spectroscopic properties qualitatively and quantitatively similar to those of the same protein produced endogenously in cyanobacteria. About a third of the apo-CpcA was converted to holo-CpcA. No significant bilin addition took place in a similarly engineered E. coli strain that lacks cpcE and cpcF. This approach should permit incisive analysis of many remaining questions in phycobiliprotein biosynthesis. These studies also demonstrate the feasibility of generating constructs of these proteins in situ for use as fluorescent protein probes in living cells.
Project description:The entire pathway for the biosynthesis of the phycobiliviolin-bearing His-tagged holo-alpha subunit of the cyanobacterial photosynthetic accessory protein phycoerythrocyanin was reconstituted in Escherichia coli. Cyanobacterial genes encoding enzymes required for the conversion of heme to 3Z-phycocyanobilin, a precursor of phycobiliviolin (namely, heme oxygenase 1 and 3Z-phycocyanobilin:ferredoxin oxidoreductase), were expressed from a plasmid under the control of the hybrid trp-lac (trc) promoter. Genes for the apo-phycoerythrocyanin alpha subunit (pecA) and the heterodimeric lyase/isomerase (pecE and pecF), which catalyzes both the covalent attachment of phycocyanobilin and its concurrent isomerization to phycobiliviolin, were expressed from the trc promoter on a second plasmid. Upon induction, recombinant E. coli used endogenous heme to produce holo-PecA with absorbance and fluorescence properties similar to those of the same protein produced in cyanobacteria. About two-thirds of the apo-PecA was converted to holo-PecA. No significant bilin addition took place in a similarly engineered E. coli strain that lacks pecE and pecF. By using immobilized metal affinity chromatography, both apo-PecA and holo-PecA were isolated as ternary complexes with PecE and PecF. The identities of all three components in the ternary complexes were established unambiguously by protein and tryptic peptide analyses performed by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry.
Project description:Phycocyanin is an important component of the phycobilisome, which is the principal light-harvesting complex in cyanobacteria. The covalent attachment of the phycocyanobilin chromophore to phycocyanin is catalyzed by the enzyme phycocyanin lyase. The photosynthetic properties and phycobilisome assembly state were characterized in wild type and two mutants which lack holo-?-phycocyanin. Insertional inactivation of the phycocyanin ?-subunit lyase (?cpcF mutant) prevents the ligation of phycocyanobilin to ?-phycocyanin (CpcA), while disruption of the cpcB/A/C2/C1 operon in the CK mutant prevents synthesis of both apo-?-phycocyanin (apo-CpcA) and apo-?-phycocyanin (apo-CpcB). Both mutants exhibited similar light saturation curves under white actinic light illumination conditions, indicating the phycobilisomes in the ?cpcF mutant are not fully functional in excitation energy transfer. Under red actinic light illumination, wild type and both phycocyanin mutant strains exhibited similar light saturation characteristics. This indicates that all three strains contain functional allophycocyanin cores associated with their phycobilisomes. Analysis of the phycobilisome content of these strains indicated that, as expected, wild type exhibited normal phycobilisome assembly and the CK mutant assembled only the allophycocyanin core. However, the ?cpcF mutant assembled phycobilisomes which, while much larger than the allophycocyanin core observed in the CK mutant, were significantly smaller than phycobilisomes observed in wild type. Interestingly, the phycobilisomes from the ?cpcF mutant contained holo-CpcB and apo-CpcA. Additionally, we found that the large form of FNR (FNR(L)) accumulated to normal levels in wild type and the ?cpcF mutant. In the CK mutant, however, significantly less FNR(L) accumulated. FNRL has been reported to associate with the phycocyanin rods in phycobilisomes via its N-terminal domain, which shares sequence homology with a phycocyanin linker polypeptide. We suggest that the assembly of apo-CpcA in the phycobilisomes of ?cpcF can stabilize FNR(L) and modulate its function. These phycobilisomes, however, inefficiently transfer excitation energy to Photosystem II.
Project description:The light-harvesting phycobilisome in cyanobacteria and red algae requires the lyase-catalyzed chromophorylation of phycobiliproteins. There are three functionally distinct lyase families known. The heterodimeric E/F type is specific for attaching bilins covalently to α-subunits of phycocyanins and phycoerythrins. Unlike other lyases, the lyase also has chromophore-detaching activity. A subclass of the E/F-type lyases is, furthermore, capable of chemically modifying the chromophore. Although these enzymes were characterized >25 y ago, their structures remained unknown. We determined the crystal structure of the heterodimer of CpcE/F from Nostoc sp. PCC7120 at 1.89-Å resolution. Both subunits are twisted, crescent-shaped α-solenoid structures. CpcE has 15 and CpcF 10 helices. The inner (concave) layer of CpcE (helices h2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14) and the outer (convex) layer of CpcF (h16, 18, 20, 22, and 24) form a cavity into which the phycocyanobilin chromophore can be modeled. This location of the chromophore is supported by mutations at the interface between the subunits and within the cavity. The structure of a structurally related, isomerizing lyase, PecE/F, that converts phycocyanobilin into phycoviolobilin, was modeled using the CpcE/F structure as template. A H87C88 motif critical for the isomerase activity of PecE/F is located at the loop between h20 and h21, supporting the proposal that the nucleophilic addition of Cys-88 to C10 of phycocyanobilin induces the isomerization of phycocyanobilin into phycoviolobilin. Also, the structure of NblB, involved in phycobilisome degradation could be modeled using CpcE as template. Combined with CpcF, NblB shows a low chromophore-detaching activity.
Project description:Techniques such as Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM) and Structured Illumination Microscopy (SIM) have increased the achievable resolution of optical imaging, but few fluorescent proteins are suitable for super-resolution microscopy, particularly in the far-red and near-infrared emission range. Here we demonstrate the applicability of CpcA, a subunit of the photosynthetic antenna complex in cyanobacteria, for STORM and SIM imaging. The periodicity and width of fabricated nanoarrays of CpcA, with a covalently attached phycoerythrobilin (PEB) or phycocyanobilin (PCB) chromophore, matched the lines in reconstructed STORM images. SIM and STORM reconstructions of Escherichia coli cells harbouring CpcA-labelled cytochrome bd 1 ubiquinol oxidase in the cytoplasmic membrane show that CpcA-PEB and CpcA-PCB are suitable for super-resolution imaging in vivo. The stability, ease of production, small size and brightness of CpcA-PEB and CpcA-PCB demonstrate the potential of this largely unexplored protein family as novel probes for super-resolution microscopy.
Project description:As a component of the photosynthetic apparatus in cyanobacteria, the phycobilisome (PBS) plays an important role in harvesting and transferring light energy to the core photosynthetic reaction centers. The size, composition (phycobiliprotein and chromophore), and assembly of PBSs can be dynamic to cope with tuning photosynthesis and associated cellular fitness in variable light environments. Here, we explore the role of PBS-related stress responses by analyzing deletion mutants of cpcF or cpcG1 genes in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. The cpcF gene encodes a lyase that links the phycocyanobilin (PCB) chromophore to the alpha subunit of phycocyanin (PC), a central phycobiliprotein (PBP) in PBSs. Deletion of cpcF (i.e., ?cpcF strain) resulted in slow growth, reduced greening, elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, together with an elevated accumulation of a stress-related Peroxiredoxin protein (Sll1621). Additionally, ?cpcF exhibited reduced sensitivity to a photosynthesis-related stress inducer, methyl viologen (MV), which disrupts electron transfer. The cpcG1 gene encodes a linker protein that serves to connect PC to the core PBP allophycocyanin. A deletion mutant of cpcG1 (i.e.,?cpcG1) exhibited delayed growth, a defect in pigmentation, reduced accumulation of ROS, and insensitivity to MV treatment. By comparison, ?cpcF and ?cpcG1 exhibited similarity in growth, pigmentation, and stress responses; yet, these strains showed distinct phenotypes for ROS accumulation, sensitivity to MV and Sll1621 accumulation. Our data emphasize an importance of the regulation of PBS structure in ROS-mediated stress responses that impact successful growth and development in cyanobacteria.
Project description:The phycoerythrocyanin (pec) operon, cloned from Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120, encodes four genes, pecBACE, located upstream of the C-phycocyanin (cpc) operon. This pec-cpc cluster includes all the genes for the structural components of the phycobilisome rod. Oligonucleotide probes based on the amino-terminal sequence of the phycoerythrocyanin beta subunit were used to clone an 8.0-kbp EcoRI fragment which was determined, by sequencing, to partially overlap the previously cloned cpc operon. A 5.0-kbp EcoRI-ClaI fragment corresponding to the region upstream of the cpc operon was subsequently subcloned and sequenced. Five open reading frames whose polarity of transcription is parallel to that of the cpc genes were identified. pecB and pecA encode the beta and alpha subunits of phycoerythrocyanin, respectively. pecC encodes the phycoerythrocyanin-associated linker polypeptide LR34.5,PEC. The identities of these genes are confirmed by agreement with amino-terminal sequences determined from purified phycobilisome components. A gene homologous to cpcE, found downstream of pecC, has been designated pecE. The cpcE gene product is involved in the attachment of the phycocyanobilin chromophore to the alpha subunit of phycocyanin. Three transcripts were observed by Northern (RNA) analyses. The most abundant of these transcripts, 1.35 kbp, corresponds to the beta and alpha subunit genes, whereas the less-abundant transcripts, 2.3 and 3.1 kbp, correspond to pecBAC and pecBACE, respectively. Phycoerythrocyanin is strongly induced in cells cultured under low light. In parallel, all three transcripts were present at much higher levels in cells cultured under low light.
Project description:The later stages in the pathway of biosynthesis of phycocyanobilin, the chromophore of phycocyanin, were studied by using radiolabelled intermediates. Three possible pathways from biliverdin IX-alpha to phycocyanobilin were considered. 14C-labelled samples of key intermediates in two of the pathways, 3-vinyl-18-ethyl biliverdin IX-alpha and 3-ethyl-18-vinyl biliverdin IX-alpha, were synthesized chemically and were administered to cultures of Cyanidium caldarium that were actively synthesizing photosynthetic pigments in the light. Neither of these two compounds was apparently incorporated into the phycobiliprotein chromophore, suggesting that two of the three pathways were not operative. By elimination, the results imply that the third possible pathway, which involves phytochromobilin, the chromophore of phytochrome, represents the route for biosynthesis of phycocyanobilin. Unfortunately, since 14C-labelled phytochromobilin is not available, no direct proof of this pathway could be obtained. However, if correct, the present interpretation represents a unified pathway for biosynthesis of all plant bilins, via the intermediacy of phytochromobilin.
Project description:Formation of fluorescent proteins was explored after incubation of recombinant apo-subunits of phycobiliprotein R-phycoerythrin with phycoerythrobilin chromophore. Alpha and beta apo-subunit genes of R-phycoerythrin from red algae Polisiphonia boldii were cloned in plasmid pET-21d(+). Hexahistidine-tagged alpha and beta apo-subunits were expressed in Escherichia coli. Although expressed apo-subunits formed inclusion bodies, fluorescent holo-subunits were constituted after incubation of E. coli cells with phycoerythrobilin. Holo-subunits contained both phycoerythrobilin and urobilin chromophores. Fluorescence and differential interference contrast microscopy showed polar location of holo-subunit inclusion bodies in bacterial cells. Cells containing fluorescent holo-subunits were several times brighter than control cells as found by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. The addition of phycoerythrobilin to cells did not show cytotoxic effects, in contrast to expression of proteins in inclusion bodies. In an attempt to improve solubility, R-phycoerythrin apo-subunits were fused to maltose-binding protein and incubated with phycoerythrobilin both in vitro and in vivo. Highly fluorescent soluble fusion proteins containing phycoerythrobilin as the sole chromophore were formed. Fusion proteins were localized by fluorescence microscopy either throughout E. coli cells or at cell poles. Flow cytometry showed that cells containing fluorescent fusion proteins were up to 10 times brighter than control cells. Results indicate that fluorescent proteins formed by attachment of phycoerythrobilin to expressed apo-subunits of phycobiliproteins can be used as fluorescent probes for analysis of cells by microscopy and flow cytometry. A unique property of these fluorescent reporters is their utility in both properly folded (soluble) subunits and subunits aggregated in inclusion bodies.
Project description:Pigmentation of light-harvesting phycobiliproteins of cyanobacteria requires covalent attachment of open-chain tetrapyrroles, bilins, to the apoproteins. Thioether formation via addition of a cysteine residue to the 3-ethylidene substituent of bilins is mediated by lyases. T-type lyases are responsible for attachment to Cys-155 of phycobiliprotein ?-subunits. We present crystal structures of CpcT (All5339) from Nostoc (Anabaena) sp. PCC 7120 and its complex with phycocyanobilin at 1.95 and 2.50 Å resolution, respectively. CpcT forms a dimer and adopts a calyx-shaped ?-barrel fold. Although the overall structure of CpcT is largely retained upon chromophore binding, arginine residues at the opening of the binding pocket undergo major rotameric rearrangements anchoring the propionate groups of phycocyanobilin. Based on the structure and mutational analysis, a reaction mechanism is proposed that accounts for chromophore stabilization and regio- and stereospecificity of the addition reaction. At the dimer interface, a loop extending from one subunit partially shields the opening of the phycocyanobilin binding pocket in the other subunit. Deletion of the loop or disruptions of the dimer interface significantly reduce CpcT lyase activity, suggesting functional relevance of the dimer. Dimerization is further enhanced by chromophore binding. The chromophore is largely buried in the dimer, but in the monomer, the 3-ethylidene group is accessible for the apophycobiliprotein, preferentially from the chromophore ?-side. Asp-163 and Tyr-65 at the ?- and ?-face near the E-configured ethylidene group, respectively, support the acid-catalyzed nucleophilic Michael addition of cysteine 155 of the apoprotein to an N-acylimmonium intermediate proposed by Grubmayr and Wagner (Grubmayr, K., and Wagner, U. G. (1988) Monatsh. Chem. 119, 965-983).
Project description:The biliprotein allophycocyanin was purified from Phormidium luridum, Anabaena variabilis and Plectonema boryanum. R-phycocyanin was purified from Rhodymenia palmata. The chromophores were cleaved from the denatured protein by methanol hydrolysis. They were purified and crystallized as the dimethyl esters. Chromatographic and absorption-spectral (visible-ultraviolet and infrared) comparisons with reference material have established phycocyanobilin as the chromophore of allophycocyanin. Phycocyanobilin and phycoerythrobilin were shown to be the chromophores of R-phycocyanin.